Despite several reports saying otherwise, Legend Fighting Championship's 8th event will be pushing through, but it will be on a different venue and country. The show was supposed to be headlined by a featherweight title fight with Fransino Tirta fighting in front of his home town fans, but late last week, the Indonesian star ruptured his appendix and was forced to have surgery.
Tirta, while recovering from a successful appendectomy and had to be pulled from the card, forcing the promotion to reconsider their plans for a show that was marketed and hinged on his return. Fast forward to today, and amidst all the 'cancellation' rumors, officials have announced that that they will be keeping the date and moving their event to their home-base of Hong Kong.
Lightweight champion Jadamba Narantungalag will be headlining the event as he defends his title against top Korean prospect, Nam Yui Chul. On the co-main event, undefeated Chinese prospect, Ji Xian will be stepping in to face Tirta's original opponent in Yusuke Kawanago, and it will be for their vacant featherweight title.
It's still a good card considering the situation, with 2 title fights along with the Legend FC debut of Sengoku Champion, Keita "K-Taro" Nakamura, but it will be a tough task trying to market and sell a card to the Hong Kong fans in just a little over 2 weeks.
The release also mentioned that Legend FC 10 this July would be the planned Jakarta card which would probably host Fransino Tirta taking on the winner of the featherweight championship bout on this card.
And as I'm writing this, more news breaks out, as the URCC released a statement saying that they have filed 3 cases against Legend FC and Mike Haskamp. Looks like there might be a legal battle between these two Asian promotions soon. Check out the release after the jump.
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Here's the URCC's release with a statement against Mike Haskamp and Legend FC:
URCC Founder Alvin Aguilar, founder of one of Asia’s longest running MMA promotions filed three cases with the Games and Amusement Board against Michael Haskamp and his promotion Legend FC. The cases being filed are regarding:
1.) Illegal and unethical hiring of fighters under contract with the URCC. (It was also noted that they overmatched a poor Filipino fighter from the province who didn’t know any better, to make his own veteran fighters look good.)
2.) Bringing legally registered Professional fighters outside the country without complying with any of the GAB’s requirements. Totally disregarding all of its rules and regulations
3.) Hiring trainers who are blacklisted and unlicensed by the GAB. One trainer he enlisted, Marciano Basas, was denied a fighter and trainer license as he has Hepatitis and a series of other sicknesses that may be passed on.
When asked for comment URCC Founder Alvin Aguilar said: "These foreigners think they can just come in and disregard the rules of our country and take advantage of our countrymen, and our efforts to promote Filipino MMA fighters around the world. Now that Philippine MMA is mainstream because of the URCC’s efforts, all sorts of foreigners are trying to make a quick buck off the efforts of OUR COUNTRYMEN. They even blatantly said that everyone is for sale here in our country. Well I’m sorry to say that we are not and this commission definitely is not for sale. I have personally dealt with them for ten years and they never asked me for a dime! They will learn to respect the rules here, all of the so-called Filipinos that supposedly support them (if any) should be hung up on a tree alongside these foreigners. As the founder of professional mixed martial arts in the Philippines, I am duty bound to protect my fighters and ensure that all the laws regarding and protecting them are followed. We will not standby and let these foreigners take advantage of anyone here. If ever I do meet them they will also learn the true meaning of BAKBAKAN NA!!!!"
Just a few notes for those who might not understand the situation:
- The Philippines' Games and Amusement Board, or GAB, is very similar to the Athletic Commissions in the US, which handles the sanctioning and licensing of fighters, testing, etc.
- No one should hire a guy in MMA who has hepatitis, that is obviously very dangerous.
- The fighter(s) referred to as allegedly being illegally hired is Augustin Delarmino Jr. (5-1). He has fought for the URCC since 2009 winning a provincial title from the promotion, and last competed at Legend FC 7 last February, when he knocked out Sung Ming Yen in 44 seconds (video).
- While it is unclear at this point if he is included in the legal complaint, Augustin's brother, Leonard Delarmino (3-2) was also with the URCC starting from 2009, and last competed at the same Legend FC 7 card (video), losing by submission to Ji Xian (who will be fighting for the title at LFC 8).
- Both brothers Augustin and Leonard are currently scheduled to compete at LFC 8 on March 30.
- The URCC didn't mention who was the over-matched "Filipino fighter from the province who didn’t know any better", but here is the list of all Filipinos who have fought for Legend FC:
Legend FC 1: Vicente Pajaro (2-1 when they fought) lost to Zilong Zhao (3-2 when they fought) by TKO. R1 3:20
Legend FC 2: Kevin Belingon (6-0 when they fought) def. Jo Nam Jin (5-1 when they fought) by Decision.
Legend FC 3: Kevin Belingon (7-0 when they fought) def. Dalai Bayin (1-0 when they fought) by Submission. R1 4:26
Legend FC 4: Mark Eddiva (0-0 when they fought) def. Alex Lee (0-0 when they fought) by Submission R1 4:22
Legend FC 5: Mark Striegl (4-0 when they fought) def. Yusuke Kawanago (10-2 when they fought) by Decision.
Legend FC 6: Ereneo Galindez (0-0 when they fought) lost to Michael Mortimer (14-4 when they fought) by Submission R1 4:24
Legend FC 7: Augustin Delarmino Jr. (4-1 when they fought) def. Sung Ming Yen (2-0 when they fought) by KO. R1 0:44
Legend FC 7: Leonard Delarmino (3-1 when they fought) lost to Ji Xian (3-0 when they fought) by Submission. R1 4:52
Legend FC 7: Mark Striegl (6-0 when they fought) def. Ev Ting (3-0 when they fought) by Submission. R1 3:51
Note that these professional records were all obtained from Sherdog, so it is possible that some fights might not have been recorded.
- All in all Filipinos did pretty well, going 6-3 in the Legend FC banner. Looking closer at these three records though, there is one that stands out as a possible candidate for that over-matched Filipino fighter, which is Ereneo Galindez. He hasn't competed at the URCC or any major MMA promotion in the Philippines, and he appears to have made his pro-debut against a 14-4 fighter in Michael Mortimer, so if there's a case for anyone being involved in a big mismatch, it is Galindez, who frankly, looked and performed like he had no business being in the ring against Mortimer.
So there you have it. I'm not going to give much opinion as I'm not really a lawyer, nor do I have all the details from both sides, so just to reiterate, I'm just basing things mostly on the release given, so if I did get anything wrong, the people from either side are free to contact me with the corrections.
As always, I'll try to keep everyone updated on the situation as it develops, but hopefully this all gets resolved soon.